Who are you? Who, who? Who, who? Cause I really want to know. So do other people. And you only have one chance on LinkedIn to get it right so you need to put some thought into your personal Headline.

Let’s start with what not to do

Don’t be a Cliché If you are looking to get noticed, especially if you are looking for a job, then you need to stand out from the crowd. Being an out-of –the-box thinker is meaningless. So is being a self-starter and a highly-motivated anything. If you’ve heard it a million times so has everyone else. People will either automatically edit it out of their minds when they read it as useless jargon or actually view it as a negative and pass over clicking on your profile.

Don’t be confusing Have you ever met someone and asked what they do and they reply with “it’s complicated”? How can what you do be complicated? Doctor’s make sick people better. Rocket Scientists build rockets. Mechanics fix cars. These are complicated jobs and yet not so complicated that they are indescribable. If you can’t describe what it is you do in a sentence, then you’re overhead.

Don’t undervalue yourself If you are out of work and looking for a job don’t use “seeking new opportunities” or “unemployed” as your headline. This undervalues you, your skills, your experience and your chances of success. Your current state of employment or unemployment does not define who you are and what you can do. Tell people what does define you so that they can hire you to do it.

Now here’s some advice on what to do

Be honest You will never benefit from a relationship that begins with a lie. Don’t invent yourself, describe yourself. People do really appreciate and value honesty. At least the people that you want to work for or do business with should.

Be real Odds are if someone finds you on LinkedIn it’s because they are looking for someone like you. There’s no reason why your headline cannot simply be your current title (if it truly describes what you do) or even an actual description of what it is you do. Not only will this be helpful for visitors to your profile, but it will also help people who are searching for you like recruiters or potential customers find you.

Be creative Wouldn’t you rather be a PowerPoint Performance Artist than an Account Executive? Talk about an icebreaker eh? If you’re in a creative industry then have a little fun with your headline and show off your talents. If you’re in a more conservative industry, it’s still ok to have a little fun as long as you keep it professional and don’t over do it.

Do you have any tips of your own? I’d love to hear about them in the comments or over on my blog at Smashing Pixels!